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Old 12-26-2006, 11:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: overwintering and moisture

It is true that pseudostem height that you keep during the winter doesn't matter much on the final height of the plant the next season, except with some luck on the bloom.

But the secret to obtaining fruits and bigger bunches of fruits is affected by how much live pseudostem you can keep the entire winter. Most people who cut down the pseudostem will not get any harvestable fruits at all except in rare cases but then the fruits are miniscule or too few. If your objective is only for ornamentals, it is best to cut them down to manageable height, and always keep the whole thing dry the entire winter. Leaf cages with waterproofing on top to divert water away are excellent.

For us in the marginal zone 9, I simply leave the plants alone. Their leaves will fry and die but these become effective frost blanket the rest of the season protecting the whole pseudostem. I mound up the base of the clump with dark soil so as to divert the winter rainwater away. Come spring time when there is no more frosts in the forecast, I remove the leaves one by one, strip out the dead outer sheath to expose the live green sheath underneath. Bananas with the right height will often bloom a couple of weeks after spring and will have big fruits come harvest time when the first frosts come for a visit. The pseudostems provide additional storage of food reserves that could help boost fruit size but the main storage are in the mat of corms.

Originally Posted by mrbungalow View Post
I keep hearing that the height of the pseudostem in springtime is not that important.
For example an overwintered 4 feet pseudostem and a 1 foot pseudostem seems to produce plants with the same overall height, as long as they had similar height the year before and similar-sized root-systems.

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